IT all looks great on the surface at Gigg Lane with The Shakers playing some of our best football in years but off the pitch it’s a completely different matter.
We’ve been battling financial ruin for three decades since we went into liquidation in the early 90s and have limped from one narrow escape to the next – outgoing owner Stewart Day may have one successful promotion campaign (and one relegation) on his epitaph but there are unseen parts to the story about the way the finances have been run under his tenure that leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
The drop from League One hit us hard and as ever it’s the club 2 or 3 years down the line that takes the biggest hit – new owner Steve Dale has a minor miracle on his hands to turn the ship around and as anyone who has worked in business knows you sometimes have to offload your biggest assets in times of financial hardship so watch this space … as I’m sure our best players are.
So we find ourselves in a strange juxtaposition at the moment – playing in the form of our lives but with a financial noose around our necks that may well tighten come the New Year.
Will it affect us in the short term? Who knows but it’s certainly worth being aware of factors off the pitch rather than just looking at results and form.
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Oldham v Bury (3pm, Saturday)
Sorry, bit of a preamble but well worth seeing the wider context – on to the game itself!
The obvious thoughts looking from the outside would be goals and probably an emphatic Bury win but having lived through 40-odd years worth of Lancashire derbies I’ve seen far too many end with a scoreline that reflects the back-to-back terraced housing that surrounds most NW grounds. Dull and mundane.
However, three things do look brighter for us:
- We have form on our side and statistically are one of the best offensive sides in the division.
- I posted earlier in the week that Oldham’s away form is arguably better away from Boundary Park than it is at home.
- We have held the hoodoo over the hosts in recent years on their patch with 1 loss, 2 draws and 3 wins during a 7-year spell.
As ever it’s always going to be worth waiting until closer to kick-off as final line-ups are decided and worth also remembering we look a slightly inflated price as result of factors off the field.
As it stands though I can’t see us losing this one although there is always the chance of a dull draw – draw no bet is Bury is a good enough price to get stuck into early doors and I also can’t ignore our former Bray and Galway midfielder Jay O’ Shea who has hit 6 since October and is absolutely on fire.